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I keep saying that this sem-inactive thing is something that I'll have no idea when it'll end, but it keeps stretching out. I can't believe its been two months. Not only is my internet bad, I've also still very, very busy. I have a lot of things going on, so being on DA isn't a priority at the moment. I've been planning to go to university with exams coming up and all of this work I just don't feel like drawing a lot. Not like I have an opening to do so. I keep my fanfic going, but even that's becoming a challenge. 

So basically...still not going to be around much.













:iconlaplz: 

:iconidontthinksobetchplz:

:iconthefonzplz: :icongoofygrinplz:

Ratchet and Clank Stamp by Ben-Anderson
.:Ratchet and Clank stamp 4:. by dannyphantom300
Land before time stamp by Sony-ShockStamp: Bravestarr by Gatekat Cragmite OC Support by WolfzenStamp - Dallas and Juanita by Lurking-Leanne
Cragmite Empire Stamp by HlTLER
Aaaahhh What by MiharuWatanabeI love ReBoot by thebadkittyCrash Bandicoot stamp by RobinBaxterButt


Dr. N. Tropy Stamp by xSweetSlayerxSly 4 stamp~ The Ancestors by SeeraphineClassic Spyro Stamp by RadSpyroN.Brio Stamp by angelblood

Activity


Lifeforce Chapter 45

"Power resides only where men believe it resides. [...] A shadow on the wall, yet shadows can kill. And ofttimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow."
George R.R. Martin,A Clash of Kings

Toranux Unborn

Baggog stared down at the planet's image on the screen below him. Outlined by a bright circle; a target finder, it floated unaware in space. It wasn't as far from Reepor as it hoped to be, but remote all the same. Remote and, until recently found out as untrue, believed to be uninhabited. But he'd found that wasn't the case.

It was almost strange, now that he was back on Reepor he felt as if he hadn't left at all. The cold, alien air of that Toranux wasn't something he was going to miss. The warrior scowled to himself, feeling the same fury he'd felt every day he'd been trapped there return. Three years wasted hiding from creatures that, until recently, he'd thought to be invincible. It was nothing, however, he told himself with grim satisfaction. The first sight of those beasts was enough to startle any warrior, but once his senses after had return, he'd realized they were not ghosts nor spirits like they claimed to be, but simply living mortals who resembled such things. That is, they could die.

"Sir, are you sure?" Came a placid voice. Baggog sneered at the soldier nearby; annoyed that he'd asked him this question yet again.

"I am. Our Empire is strong; letting them get away with this insult isn't going to happen." He replied in a gruff voice. And it wouldn't. The soldier glanced away, turning back to the controls.

"...But sir – did the Emperor not say that this planet wasn't worth the Empire's time?" Baggog sneered.

"It isn't, and it won't be able to be worth anything else. Not anymore."

He smirked a little, then, and turned back to the screen. "Prepare fire. I want to take my time at first..."

...

When Fiver awoke, he was lost in a fog. Last night his brother had done nothing short of drugging him to get him to sleep; sleeping draughts and incense in his room. He hadn't been able to stop that night; he barely remembered his thoughts now. But what he did know was that now they seemed like a messed up jumble of fears in his head, and one by one they were returning to him. He was not cold. In fact he felt warm, uncomfortably so, as if he was locked in a dusty, stuffy room with no window and stale air. He raised his hands, quivering, and pulled himself out of bed.

It was quiet, horribly quiet. His brother didn't understand what he feared, no one would. The others didn't every think of the outside, of the creatures there – but he knew someone who did.

Fiver left, to find the Loki.

...

Clank and Trisby slowly made their way down a shadowy corridor. Hours had passed and the red alert pounding through the station had died down, so it finally seemed the time to leave their storage refuge. Clank found himself lagging behind a little.

Trisby walked on ahead, not looking back at him. He could tell, even so, that she was scowling. "...Trisby?"

She sighed. Clank knew he was bordering on prying at this point, but he couldn't help it. He jogged a little to catch up with her.

"...Clank, we have to focus on getting to that library. Not on you performing psych evaluations on me every five minutes."

Now it was his turn to frown, just a little. "That is hardly fair. I simply care for your well being, and on a technical term - or as you would put it, in an honest one - you being distracted will not aid your judgement."

"Have my judgements not been well up until now?" Trisby looked over her shoulder at him, scowling almost violently. Clank was almost taken back, but stood his ground and continued walking. Trisby continued sourly, "Have they not kept us alive?"

"They have." Clank said, plainly. Trisby shot him an empty, bitter smile.

"Good."

It was almost a hiss, and she was wandering ahead again. Clank paused in his walk for a moment, watching her. He would never understand her, yet he had this...odd obligation to keep trying. The little robot began walking again, but for now he remained quiet.

A rumble travelled through the floor. Clank halted, as did Trisby. She looked back once again, her face hard. "...Something's landed nearby."

Clank said nothing for a moment, as a loud, yet muffled roar of a landing engine sounded through the halls. "...Or, something very large has landed some miles away..."

Trisby gestured with her paw and hurried along the hall, Clank at her heel. After winding through a few halls, Trisby skidded to a halt. Clank came around the corner to find a hall basking in the light of the setting sun; in the jungle surrounding the station they could see through the window, a large ship had landed. Not too far away, but not close enough for them to be glimpsed at all. The shape of the ship, black and boxy, lined in orange, red and black and gold was beyond recognisable.

"That ship is clearly one of Tachyon's..." Clank said slowly, coming to stand beside Trisby before the glass wall. It looked out over the station; minions distracted by the arrival of the ship - That must have been the reason they were able to wander through the halls unnoticed at this time.

"...What if it's Tachyon himself?" Trisby was frowning suspiciously. "This feels...out of the blue. What's changed...?"

Clank gave her a puzzled look. "What do you mean, Trisby?"

The small cat-like creature turned away from him. Clank leaned on his foot to try and look around at her, but failed.

"...We need to get near that ship. Tachyon wouldn't come to do the dirty work himself; this is a book, not a dimensionator. Something new must have come up."

Clank's suspicion that he had hidden with shame returned to him without warning. Part of him, deep within his mechanisms, wanted to just trust Trisby. That part of him that he knew was the one part of him that didn't value logical thinking. Ratchet had gained his trust over years of friendship; Trisby had not gained such a feat.

He frowned. "...Trisby...I have faith in you, and I know there must be a good reason that you would feel this way. A reasonable one, too, if you are to change the plan you so thoroughly wouldn't have changed before this." He tried to smile, then, but failed. Trisby looked back at him, and for a second, he thought he'd seen something in her face. Contemplation, just for a second, before it vanished as if it had never been there. He felt something lift in him. At least she's considered...

"...Well. Call it a hunch." She replied loftily. Then she was walking again.

...

Fiver stared down the dark forest path that led to the Loki Citadel. People said it was like a half-buried city, submerged in rock and blue-black soil, filled with terrible instruments that daren't be described. Fiver knew he should fear them, but he didn't fear them as much as the feeling surrounding him.

He floated down the path, feeling the cold air brush his face as he travelled deeper down into the valley. No Thora had come this close, not alone – and none certainly thought about going inside.

At last it came into view; a dark purple-black metal wall, ascending out from the ground. Curving balls of metal, large and connected by various looping passages, sat amongst the trees and rocks. It looked like a bulky, fat set of beads tangled in their strings and lit up by various yellow lights.

He saw the entrance, a circular door of grey metal, three times the size of him. Fiver hadn't seen such large, imposing constructions before – and for a second his determination wavered.

But I can't. I have to.

Drawing a shaky breath the scrawny Thora slid from the trees and towards the door, stopping outside. He saw no handle, and hesitantly reached out to touch it – but before his finger reached it, the metal came apart like an eyelid opening. Fiver gasped, drawing back – but found no-one was there. The door had just opened for him.

Swallowing, he floated in. The door slid shut again behind him and he started, his arms leaping up in fright. But again, no one was there.

Lifting his head he saw the hall he was in was silvery blue and sleek, unlike the quiet, enclosed tunnels of the Thora dwellings. Everything felt exposed and large in here, and it made him rather nervous.

Something cold wrapped around his neck. Fiver gave a strangled yelp as he was pulled back, turned and smacked up against the wall beside him like a cloth hit by the wind. He struggled instinctively, before he saw what had grabbed him – and his heart near faltered. A Loki, not the one he was looking for, was smirking up at him, pinning him against the wall. The grip around his neck tightened with every second, and he almost felt as if his neck would snap.

His head swirled. "Y-..."

"Well, well, I thought I'd seen every mad happening under the sun by this point, but this has to be the most amusing." The Loki man said, in a smooth, deep voice that was strikingly familiar. Fiver, his mind whirling from the lack of air, couldn't pin-point it. A more threatening look passed over the purple creature's face.

"Though amusement is short-lived in this case...I'd been wondering if your kind have been growing backbone, but I never expected this."

Fiver shuddered, his vision growing foggy. The Loki's lip curled, and no hint of mercy grossed his face.

"Nikodemus."

A sharp voice cut through the air and the Loki that was strangling him turned his head, looking merely annoyed. Fiver stared. The Loki he had been looking for – Rookus- had appeared by some miracle at the end of the hall, wearing the same sharp frown he had the last time he'd seen him.

Wait.

Fiver looked back at the large Loki that had almost killed him for sport. Nikodemus – the Loki Master. The Leader of a race strangling me like a chicken, he mused groggily, how 'sophisticated' indeed...

"Drop him." Rookus said in a flat tone, as if finding the leader of his race strangling someone wasn't an uncommon occurrence. Nikodemus gave a faint grin.

"Oh, I wasn't aware you were expecting guests."

"I wasn't." Rookus said slowly, eyeing Fiver. The grip around his neck had loosened just a little to allow him to breathe; his head felt like it had been bashed off various brick walls.

"...N-need to t-"

Nikodemus spoke over him as if he hadn't heard, now glaring at Rookus, "I don't appreciate you embarrassing your peers by chattering to little creatures like this."

"Quite frankly, Nikodemus, I don't spend every waking hour caring what the rest of you think." Rookus retorted flatly and Fiver found himself gaping like an idiot.

The Loki Master sneered, "Spare me your 'wit'. What is this runt doing here, exactly?"

"Must be important if he came in here." Rookus said plainly, his voice emotionless. He glanced at Fiver with a serious look – perhaps he knew what it was he wished to speak of. Fiver felt his chest lift – perhaps there was hope after all.

Nikodemus dropped him without warning. Fiver gave a small yip of fright and landed on the cold ground, his headstall reeling. Nikodemus swept past Rookus, his shoulder deliberately hitting against the other man and knocking him sideways a little.

"We'll chat about this later, old chap." The Loki Master sneered – before vanishing around a corner. Fiver dragged himself up, trembling from nerves. Rookus turned to him, shaking his head.

"You must have really lost your mind, coming in here." He commented. Fiver swallowed; his throat was stiff.

"...You don't understand. The Lifeforce is more than the council would ever wish for you to understand, and I am telling you now – something horrible is going to happen, and it's something to do with those c-cragmites." He could barely say the species name at this point. Rookus eyed him doubtfully.

"I am no expert on your...lifeforce." He said, "I am are it is a biological energy-"

Fiver spluttered; an odd mixture between a scoff and a laugh. "Is that all?" He said next, finding his voice coming out oddly well with the newfound spite that had wormed its way into him. Rookus scowled a little, then.

"Well then, what are these 'secrets' that your Council are so afraid of revealing?"

"...It would take too long. If you want to see what the Lifeforce can do...follow me." Fiver turned and swooped back to the door. He had a plan now, a way of making him see. It was forbidden, but Fiver found himself not caring in a maddening sort of way. Suddenly the secrets he too had cherished as the only thing keeping them above the Loki no longer mattered.

Rookus tilted his head, scrutinising. "And what is that?"

"Both the mental and physical forms it takes." Fiver replied. "...Have you heard of Tressakay Misow?"

Something crossed Rookus's face. Fiver felt a surge of triumph – he had to have heard.

"Whatever you heard...it's far more. Follow me –please." His confidence faltered a bit. Rookus – to his great surprise – grinned a tad.

"You sound more like the creature I met now. I shall never understand Thora." Fiver was too shaken to smile back, and turned his back.

"We, for the life of us, will never understand Loki."

He slid out the door. Rookus followed him.

...

The ship's large ramp hit the moist ground with a loud crunch. The minions had gathered around quickly to 'welcome' the Emperor onto the planet – but he barely paid them heed. Tachyon's throne slowly stormed down the ramp and onto the soil; his face set in a hard, irritated frown – now was not the time to draw his attention if he didn't want it.

A general drophid walked beside the throne, doing his best to keep up with the long steps. "Sir, we've scanned the whole station – it seems the orange lombax's men are still inside, looking for the robot and the fluffy thing."

"Seal off all of the exits." Tachyon said snappily, halting his stride and glaring at the station, "I want none of them to leave here alive."

"Will we be using gas, sir?" The general questioned from below. Tachyon's frown deepened,

"No, not for now anyway. I need that cat creature in there alive if my plans are to fall through, and those goons may be of use if they know anything. For now, let them panic." The faintest smirk appeared on his face, then, but it was short-lived. The minions could see something was clearly on his mind, and that wasn't a good thing.

"What about the lombax, sir – the main one?" The general asked uncertainly. Tachyon waved a hand dismissively, not looking down at him, but instead studying the large station before him.

"He will come to us; until then make it look like the main activity here is from that orange maniac's little gang."

"So we do not shoot on sight of him?"

Tachyon finally looked at him, seething. The general gulped a tad. Tachyon sneered, "No. There is something that I wish for him to tell me before he dies. For now we simply bide our time and allow them to regroup, if need be – whatever way we do this, none of them will leave the planet."

...

The Loki had his head leaning against his palm, his posture looking oddly slack. He was alone, thankfully, in the cockpit, sans for some unimportant minions here and there. With Tachyon gone and the robot hanging over some acid far from this room, he had some peace. His head was aching unnaturally – he'd never had this problem with this host before. Not for a hundred years.

"Hmm." He lifted his head, and the pain increased with even that slight movement. Grimacing, the small cat-like creature sat down on the hover-throne. Ironically, he didn't usually sit down on the contraption as it made him look weak, but now he didn't care.

Perhaps this body was finally reaching its limit. He had to admit, 'Dinkles' had lasted longer than any creature he'd possessed. Most would die of poisoning or mutation from the Loki's presence; hence his experiments in the Magnus Forests to try and make these creatures more adaptable. Of course, they had been disfigured in a most unpleasant way, so he made do with the body he had.

He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to settle his mind. But the second his vision vanished, an image popped up in his mind, almost too real to ignore – a lab, a familiar one, from a low perspective. The Loki almost opened his eyes again, but he was intrigued – and he'd had a sudden idea.

He waited, his eyes closed. As if watching a moving camera, the image turned to the left where something lay in the darkness, upon a table – something in broken, burnt armour and raggedy fur. The colour was hard to determine in the light, but it was...

The image vanished. The Loki scowled and opened his eyes. How could this be...?

Unless...

He turned to the controls, ignoring his headache, and sent out some commands to his minions still on Magnus. To find Dr Croid's lab, and see if what he suspected was true...

...

"There's no need to be so dramatic." Rookus remarked.

He'd followed the little Thora all the back to the Thora dwellings, and past them, deeper into the forests. It was still quite early and luckily there was no Thora around to witness the odd event. Rookus still didn't know why he was humouring this funny little person, but he did wish to see what this 'physical and mental' manifestation was.

That and he'd heard stories about this Tressakay Misow.

Fiver, as he'd said he was named (an odd name for a Thora) didn't answer him. Since they left the citadel, he hadn't looked back. Rookus sighed, but continued after him.

"This is getting a bit silly."

Fiver turned his head, as if to say something – then looked forward again as if deciding against it. Then, without warning, he stopped. Rookus, still a good few yards behind him, stopped as well.

"...There is a clearing ahead."

Fiver was looking downward. Rookus raised one side of his brow. "Do you wish for me to go ahead?"

"...It's too strong for me to go near again."

Was this Lifeforce some kind of aura? A 'sense' of sorts? That much he'd gathered. Rookus sighed and went ahead, oddly curious yet feeling daft.

He almost jumped.

There was a rock face that the clearing surrounded like a semi-circle. The tall, flat stone was covered in a crystal-like formation with varying shades of blue, from dark to light, growing up to five feet tall. Along the ground, sharp shards had formed, and the nearby trees where withered and curled like dead insects. The flowers just outside the clearing where purple and bright, full of life, while beside them the flowers had wilted to death. It was unnatural.

And, standing in the centre of the clearing, was a tall formation of crystal or ice that looked like someone had taken pale blue clay and twisted it around, wringing it like a rag. It looked grotesque, almost like flesh.

Rookus, for the first time in years, could feel his heart pounding, and a chill run up his spine. He breathed in. "...What did this?"

"Tressakay...and that...that isn't all. I want you to believe me about the cragmites, but the only way you will is if I show you..."

"...This is the physical. What is the mental?" Rookus said, slowly. Fiver hovered in front of him, his face solemn. He held out a hand, and Rookus leaned back by instinct. Fiver was offering him his hand.

"...I warn you. You will not have felt anything like it before. You must keep your mind guarded when you do."

Rookus opened his mouth to ask just what h e meant, but Fiver cut him off. "You will know when you feel it."

Rookus eyed him. He had an odd feeling, almost like hesitance – but of what? He only had one way to find out. He reached out, and took Fiver's hand.

...

Nefarious glared down at the acid below him, grumbling. It had been hours, and his whole metallic frame was aching and stiff. They would pay for this treachery, and soon they'd know they couldn't finish this mission without him. Oh, but he would finish them...

He heard a tapping sound. Scowling, he looked to the left, his head panning around – he saw nothing. Wait-

An air vent, high up in the shadows. Through the bars he saw a crouched, large-eared figure. His eyes widened.

"..."

Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 45

Its getting harder to write these chapters; more things keep coming up and my internet is just not working. Sorry for not replying, I just don't have the time nor connection. Sorry for the slow pace, too, I try to keep it less than two weeks at least.


Loading...
I keep saying that this sem-inactive thing is something that I'll have no idea when it'll end, but it keeps stretching out. I can't believe its been two months. Not only is my internet bad, I've also still very, very busy. I have a lot of things going on, so being on DA isn't a priority at the moment. I've been planning to go to university with exams coming up and all of this work I just don't feel like drawing a lot. Not like I have an opening to do so. I keep my fanfic going, but even that's becoming a challenge. 

So basically...still not going to be around much.













:iconlaplz: 

:iconidontthinksobetchplz:

:iconthefonzplz: :icongoofygrinplz:

Ratchet and Clank Stamp by Ben-Anderson
.:Ratchet and Clank stamp 4:. by dannyphantom300
Land before time stamp by Sony-ShockStamp: Bravestarr by Gatekat Cragmite OC Support by WolfzenStamp - Dallas and Juanita by Lurking-Leanne
Cragmite Empire Stamp by HlTLER
Aaaahhh What by MiharuWatanabeI love ReBoot by thebadkittyCrash Bandicoot stamp by RobinBaxterButt


Dr. N. Tropy Stamp by xSweetSlayerxSly 4 stamp~ The Ancestors by SeeraphineClassic Spyro Stamp by RadSpyroN.Brio Stamp by angelblood

Lifeforce Chapter 44

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

 

Never Know Passion, Never Know Pain

The armoured lombax had remained in the vents for the night. The crouched position was uncomfortable, and after a few hours, painful to the legs, but he endured it easily. He’d awakened, not with a start, but not because he’d had enough rest. Something had stirred him. Slowly he shuffled along the air vent; passing dim orange lights below him. His own breathing hovering in his ear, he paused by a barred hatch below. There where minions chirping to each other, looking worried – or at least as worried as faceless robots could look. They hovered away quickly.

Then, he heard screeching; like a trapped bird. Slowly he followed it, hearing it grow louder and take shape.

I’LL RIP YOU TWO IN HALF FOR THIS! MARK MY WORDS!”

A deep, smooth voice hovered towards him, and the lombax halted.

“Oh, do continue your threats; I’ve needed a good laugh for a while.”

“Get BENT.”

He arrived at another hatch; this time upright, not below. He kept back to avoid being seen, but he hadn’t needed to, really – he was high up in a large, square chamber. A large vat of green liquid (that unbeknownst to him had been used to threaten two warbots previously) was now sitting below a mangled-looking figure that was trussed up in a way that made him look like a large-headed monkey. The lombax would have laughed if the sight wasn’t so odd.

Nefarious twisted like a snake to face the Loki, who was standing. Surprisingly he wasn’t on his throne, but leaning against a control panel twice his size. The lombax scowled behind his helmet and edged closer. Nefarious lashed out, clearly unable to reach the cat. The Loki smirked.

“You think you’ll last ten seconds against those heroic twits without ME? Hah! Just you wait...!” Nefarious writhed, trying to free his trapped arm, as the Loki shrugged indifferently.

“Oh, you’re still involved. We have your minions, your ships. Not much, but a spending other people’s resources first is always a good strategy of mine.”

“...I can see why you where made the freakin’ leader of your race.” Nefarious muttered sourly, “You’re the biggest political leach I’ve ever seen.”

The Loki didn’t seem to take this as an insult nor compliment, instead choosing to examine his claws once more. “Oh, spare me your childish insults. I’m beginning to get a headache.”

“I hope you have a headache to end all headaches, Furball!” Nefarious spat from above.

So it had happened; Nefarious was the first to be kicked off the platform of evil. Now it was just the Loki and Tachyon – the lombax chuckled inwardly, silent. He didn’t think that would improve their cooperation. Without Nefarious, where was the lightning rod for both their grievances? Where would they take out their frustration of working with each other?

The Loki pressed a single button and the robot scientist took a plunge – the armoured lombax watched in semi-shock for a second – before the Loki took his hand away from the button, stopping the fall. Nefarious’s jaw was just an inch above the acid.

“Oh, real scary, Cat-Boy!” Nefarious grumbled, trying to adjust his mangled position and failing, “You think that old trick is gonna work in me?”

“Seeing you repeat your own tricks multiple times would make it seem so.” The Loki remarked, clearly trying his best not to look too disappointed by Nefarious’s ease. The lombax moved ever-so closer to the bars.

The Loki suddenly stopped, peering to the left, though his mind was focused elsewhere. He was frowning, and the sudden silence seemed to confuse the robot hanging above.

“...Hello? Hey, Furball?!” Nefarious barked. The Loki ignored him, raising a paw to his head slowly.

“Hmm.”

He looked back at Nefarious indifferently, “You where saying?”

Nefarious’s eye twitched. “What in the name of everything metal was that?”

The Loki sneered, but didn’t answer. The lombax’s interest tweaked, he grew closer, nearly touching the bars. Could it be...?

His helmet hit against the bars, very gentle. A little ‘ping’ sound rang out gently through the large chamber, and both Nefarious and the Loki stiffened. The lombax slid back, silently, his heart rate rising fast, and moved back the way he came sharpish.

The Loki scowled foully. “Small noises are never without hostility.”

“You are more insane than people call me.” Nefarious growled.

......

Ratchet rammed on the accelerator boosters just in time to avoid the incoming shot from the nearest attacking ship. Almost half the fleet had began to advance on him, and he was no match for it. Qwark ship sped after him like a frightened fly, and some darker part of Ratchet wished he’d been hit by the shot he’d just dodged.

Qwark’s voice rang over the transmitter, “Hiya, Ratchet – sorry about the bump, I’m sure that’ll buff right out!”

“Qwark, wh- where is everyone?!” Ratchet snapped, turning his ship again – his stomach gave an unpleasant flip. He’d have to just drive his way through the fleet and pray for a crash landing he’d survive, or a halo jump once he got into the atmosphere.

“Oh I gave them a good ‘ole head start by taking on the enemy so they could sneak past!” Qwark announced, clearly happy with himself, “The two little guys are safe on Cobalia thanks to yours truly!”

Ratchet rubbed his head. He’d actually forgotten that he’d called Clank after the influx of Qwark’s stupidity. “Right. But what’re you still doing here-?”

A blast hit his ship. Ratchet’s body jerked along with it, his arms giving a painful jolt. He glanced sideways and saw the damage wasn’t life-threatening, but it had slowed down his shop quite a bit. Biting down on his lip, he thought fast.

“Qwark we’re gonna have to make a break for the planet. Don’t bother trying to take down the ships, move through them!”

“Okie dokie!” Qwark sped forward, passing Ratchet’s ship, and bumped against one of the enemy vessels before sliding through two more. The one that had the misfortune of being bit by him spun right towards Ratchet.

The lombax pulled back on the controlling sticks and flew upwards, avoiding it narrowly. He followed Qwark, gritting his teeth, as smaller plasma blasts hit against the other side of his ship.

His transmitter gave a fuzzy, splutter-like noise. Ratchet sighed, “Qwark, just do as I...”

A horrible, gratingly high-pitched voice cackled over the intercom. Ratchet’s voice died in his throat and a dark, dull anger filled him to the brim.

“Heheahaha – Welcome back, my furry friend.” Tachyon sneered. Ratchet’s grip on the steering tightened until it was almost painful.

“Can’t say you where missed.” He said slowly. He couldn’t even yell. Ickabar was back in his mind, him and his wife, his children and friends. They’d all done nothing to deserve what they got, and this creep was laughing like he’d won a prize.

“How amusing. I’m surprised your tongue is still intact after your little venture.” Ratchet’s blood boiled. Did he know he’d been to Fastoon? He decided he didn’t care.

“I saw what happened to Ickabar, Tachyon. In some warped ‘villain’ way I guess you think you could blame the ones that raised you – but he wasn’t even involved in that. How could you do that to him? Why him?”

The screen on Ratchet’s controls flickered and Tachyon’s ugly face appeared. Ratchet thought hearing his voice was infuriating enough – he almost felt like hitting the screen. He scowled. Tachyon’s amusement had gone. “That spineless little runt is of no concern to me as of now.” He waved a skinny hand, brushing it off, though his eyes where narrowed to slits. “All that concerns me is the whereabouts of his dratted findings.”

“So you feel nothing at all?” Ratchet knew that he didn’t, but he just couldn’t accept it. It made him angry that Tachyon didn’t feel anything on this. Nothing at all –

The cragmite scowled at him, “That lying, cowardly little creature is not worthy of my time, wherever his mutated little life has ended up. He was stupid enough to leave his work behind, and you and your ruffian friends should be more concerned with that than him.”

“He didn’t even ...” Something rang in Ratchet’s head, and it dawned on him. He repeated Tachyon’s words again and again in his brain. “...Wait...what did you say?”

Tachyon was enraged, “How dare you not pay attention to me, you vermin!”

“You said wherever Ickabar was now....” Ratchet said, feeling numb.

Oh my God. He doesn’t know.

He doesn’t know Ickabar is dead.

Ratchet stared dumbly at Tachyon, his mouth half open. “...You don’t know, do you?”

How odd that the tables had turned. Tachyon had stormed up to Ratchet in their first meeting, boasting about what he knew and kept it hanging over Ratchet; a tormenting secret. Now Tachyon was the clueless one. The cragmite sneered at him, viciously,

“What are you talking about, lombax?”

“...” Ratchet closed his mouth.

Another blast hit his ship. Ratchet was thrown back into reality and he looked away from the screen, seeing Cobalia was right before him – the ship’s intercom rang above,

“Approaching atmosphere, prepare for entry –“

Another blast hit his ship and alarms began ringing. Tachyon cackled horribly from the screen before it became blank once again – Ratchet’s ship began plummeting downwards, red lights beginning to flash. Ratchet gripped the joysticks, his heart racing.

Here goes nothing.

He hit the accelerator, speeding up his fall. His ship was going faster, almost like a small meteorite. Ratchet looked at the screens. He wasn’t far enough in for a halo jump.

“Darn it, come on...!” He pulled hard on a lever, to attempt to pull up or at least ready to the ship a bit more for the jump.

The back engine exploded. Ratchet heard it, and his ship spun out of control. He flew out of his seat, hitting his head hard against the ceiling. A metallic taste filled his mouth and he grunted in pain.

He couldn’t get control of his surroundings. His ship hit against something else, scraping against it violently – maybe another ship or something – but it sent Ratchet smacking against the wall.

With a yelp the lombax was knocked clean out.

....

Fiver had left the Loki staring after him in confusion, and returned to the underground tunnels. For once the closed space and darkness did not comfort him; instead they felt suffocating. False protection from the things to come. His own breath ringing in his ears, he ducked down further into the caverns, trying to locate a familiar face.

He found Tayzol at last; hovering in a hall with a heavy expression on his face. Fiver barely reached him before he began trying to speak.

“T-Tayzol...I f-found something, I...” Tazyol turned quickly, the heaviness still present on his face, but alarm crossing it as well.

“Fiver, what in the world’s happened to you?”

“An off-worlder ship is here – the Loki, they saw it, and they didn’t tell us –“Fiver had no idea how to make him understand what he’d felt. “It felt so horrible, so cold...”

“Calm down...what did you see?” Tayzol was trying to sound reassuring, but it was hard. Fiver swallowed, quivering as he looked around the hall – feeling like a trapped animal.

“Cr-agmite ship. It was a cragmite ship...”

“...Cragmites?”

....

“Cragmites.”

Orange stood with his back to his men, peering out from the darkened surveillance room to the docks below. His ship had gone through some damage since his encounter with Ratchet and the armoured lombax, but it wasn’t what was on his mind.

His men watched him uneasily; he could almost hear their shaky breaths. He grinned, “So this thing you found...just how big is it?”

“Very big. Enough to hold ten people, at least...it was locked away tight. No one’s been in that station for - well, thousands of years. Or at least, not in that room. I’m, uh...” The goon, a tall blarg, ventured cautiously. He swallowed before continuing, “We w-where wondering...how you knew to get into that room? Or that it was even there?”

Orange’s grin stretched. He loved it when he left people guessing, it was so much fun. “Oh, that’s for me to know, silly.” He chortled, turning to face them – and they jumped a little just like he knew they would. “You should be worrying about getting it back here in one piece without disturbing what’s inside. These...things are very important to the mission.”

“...What’s inside?” Another goon asked before he could stop himself. Orange’s eye twitched in slight annoyance, but he couldn’t help but giggle all the same.

“Oh, you’ll find out.”

...

When Ratchet awoke, his whole body ached. His head felt awful and he was sure he’d broken something. Then, he heard a soft ringing. Raising his head, the lombax saw that he was lying, covered in scraps, in the up-side down crashed ship. By his feet his communicator rang solemnly, cracked and barely functional. Ratchet reached out for it, ignoring the pain – and grabbed onto it.

He tested out his legs, and to his shock, they were intact. Standing, wobbly, he gave a shaky laugh. Then he looked at the communicator.

Please be something...not creepy.

He answered. He heard nothing but soft footsteps. His heart sank and he mentally prepared himself – but then a voice cut in, not by the device, but somewhere near,

“I’ll ANNAHALIATE those ingrates for this! Who are they to think they can get away with this!”

“I did try to warn you, sir...”

Nefarious? Lawrence? Ratchet’s brows flew up his head. He leaned in just a little.

“Lawrence, I did not ASK your opinion!” Nefarious bellowed, wherever he was, “Why don’t you get me out of these chains already!”

“The Loki made sure the minions tied extra tough knots, sir.” Lawrence drawled, “And you are hovering above acid. It is out of my programming to attempt such a feat...”

Nefarious groaned in response. Ratchet’s eyes widened. Wait, Nefarious was in chains? The Loki had done it? Despite himself, he grinned. He’d known one of them would get it, and his money had always been on Nefarious.

Wait. If this was coming from the ship, then that could mean...

“...Metal guy?” Ratchet murmured quietly, as loud as he dared. There was nothing, not sound of breathing or anything. Then a small tapping noise, like someone had bonked the communicator against the wall just a little.

Then the line went dead. Ratchet stared at his feet and slowly made his way out of the wreckage, doing his best to avoid the broken glass. The familiar plants of Cobalia smacked against his ears as he pushed his way out. He pushed them away with a grumble.

So he knew Nefarious was out of the game now. Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing yet he had no idea. But at least he was on the same planet as Clank now.

His heart lifting, he made his way through the jungle, hoping he wasn’t that far from Clank.

...

Clank and Trisby had ended up huddled in a small cupboard somewhere in the pump station. Trisby had forbidden him from calling Ratchet until she gave the all-clear. She was leaning against the wall nearby the little robot, arms folded and eyes to the ground. Clank thought it was wiser not to disturb her, but he couldn’t wait forever.

“Trisby...?” He called, tilting his head. She sighed,

“Hmm?”

“If you wish to rest, sitting down may be better. And I was also wondering...”

“...If you could call Ratchet.” She finished, sounding exasperated. Clank felt a pang inside his metallic chest, but couldn’t quite place it.

“I think whoever is after is us knows we are here. I do not think we need discretion at this time.” He tried to sound positive. Trisby laughed quietly, but it sounded more like a tired chortle.

“Oh, do what you like. I’ve got bigger things to think about right now.” Clank watched her quietly, wondering if he asked what was wrong this time, would she answer? He didn’t know. Sadly he pulled out his communicator and went to the other side of their storage refuge. The robot sand down and began dialling.

He waited.

“Clank?”

His optics brightened happily, “Hello, Ratchet.”

“Man, you have no idea how glad I am to here you. I...there’s so much I have to explain about – you know...”

“It sounds like you have been...through much.” On his own, again. Clank tried to fight off the guilt, but it had wormed its way in. Ratchet chuckled on the other side,

“I’m fine, pal. But there are two things I gotta tell ya before more hell breaks loose – One, Nefarious has been imprisoned – Tachyon and the Loki muscled him out!”

Trisby’s head snapped up and Clank’s jaw hung open. “...So it happened.”

“Yeah. And that’s not all...I...found out what happened to Ickabar Locksher.” Clank heard how Ratchet’s voice faltered. He lowered his head.

“...The outcome for him had...never been hopeful.” He said sadly. Ratchet paused for a moment, and breathed in. Clank was confused by his reaction.

“...He has a son. Somewhere. I’m pretty sure he knows what we need to know.”

“A son?” Clank’s optics widened to full. He was barely aware of Trisby’s hard gaze boring into him. “Another lombax?”

“Y-yeah...but he may not even be in this galaxy. But he’s somewhere anyway.” Ratchet said. Trisby stood up and approached, stopping at Clank’s side.

“How did you find all of this out, Ratchet?” Clank inquired. Ratchet sighed, quietly. Clank felt concern return to him again,

“Are you all right...?”

“...I am now, Pal, but to be totally truthful, I wasn’t not long ago.” Ratchet said slowly. “...This...this is a long story...”

...

Tressakay hadn’t been able to stop the coldness in her from growing. It wasn’t a stiffening cold; in fact it burned in a strange sort of way. Her heart was racing and her mind was spinning – she could feel every inch of the energy pulsing through her. She felt powerful.

But it was overwhelming, and the teachings people had pushed onto her whole life, to restrain and control oneself, lingered in her mind. She’d never taken any of them seriously before now. The rocky clearing that she had taken refuge was covered in hard, solid ice, crystals pointing upward to the sky. Spikes of it grew around her and the trees where withering like simple flowers. And she could feel that loss of life. How it drained from the tree, and into her veins...

She looked at her hands. Small, gangly, rougher than usual hands. She closed her eyes.

Just what was she? She’d learned not to hate herself despite everyone else doing so. She didn’t hate herself, she never feared herself.

But she never realized.

She felt powerful enough to destroy everything around her, to let it pour from her fingers into the life around her.

And...Unnervingly...one part of her wanted so much to do it.

 

Lifeforce Chapter 43

"The moment there is suspicion about a person's motives, everything he does becomes tainted."

-Mahatma Gandhi

A Man Who's a Dreamer

She backed off for now. It wasn't time. It could have been so easy; he'd been so submerged in the visions that he barely noticed the short breaks between them. But he'd seen the warnings. She felt anger then – anger, it had been long since she felt something so warm – that Ickabar had gotten in her way. But fear rarely deterred those blinded by duty.

He was a lot like him. Lost and alone, for most of his life, like she had been. But Ickabar was dead. Perhaps if he hadn't been so noble, he wouldn't have died.

She could have gone after someone not-so noble for her purpose. But they never lasted. They were already corrupted and barely lasted. No...She needed a broad, bright soul...burning in the dark. She tracked souls like she could smell them...

He'd known she was coming, but now he thought she was further away. He'd let his guard down. She wouldn't let him forget she was there, though...

...

The Thora community was on edge after what happened. Fiver wasn't too sure of the whereabouts of Tressakay Misow now, but she'd been seen even less and become even more recluse than she usually had. The chill that came into the air in the coming mornings didn't fit the date, and the ice formation that had accompanied the blast sent at the Loki hadn't yet melted out of sight. It remained where it was, scarring the land – and no one was brave enough to go and check whether it was normal ice, or something completely different.

Fiver had, in a morbid curiosity, looked into cryokinesis- the ability to manipulate and freeze particles in the air. But never before had he heard of it being connected to their Lifeforces...

He hovered along the forest trees, deep in thought. It was dark as it always was, and quiet. Fiver couldn't shake the sense of foreboding that had hovered over him for the past few months, and couldn't place where it was coming from. Lately, especially after what happened, it nagged him out of a good night's sleep.

With a sigh, he lifted his head to see where he was actually going – and froze on the spot. Lying in a pit-like crater in a clearing, surrounded by upturned soil, was a metal, pointed machine he'd never seen the likes of. Red and pale purple, with orange lights around it. It was shaped almost like some kind of bird or insect, with a 'body' and what could be called 'wings' on either side of it. Fiver turned his head and saw a trail of dirt leading up to it for quite a bit – as if it had been dragged across the ground with great force.

He felt his unease prickle and his body felt cold. Whatever this was, it was a bad thing – he could feel it. His first instinct was to flee, then and there...but something told him to grow closer. The strange contraption wasn't that big. In fact, he could see...little windows.

His brow flew up and he floated forward, peering down at it cautiously. He lifted a hand and, against better judgement...poked it. Nothing happened, but he could feel warmth radiating from it – it hadn't been off long, if it was off at all.

A twig bounced off his shoulder. With a start, Fiver looked above him – and gaped at the sight. The trees above and around this thing, mostly the tops, had been shredded and snapped, as if something had crashed –

It clicked. Fiver had never seen one before, but he'd heard about them. Read about them, once. He was looking at an off-worlder ship.

Someone had come to Toranux.

His heart leaped in his chest, and his mind sprung. No, that was impossible. No creature from the outside had ever come to Toranux, why would they? Their atmosphere was so different from other planets, it was viewed with great fear among off worlders – or at least that was what was believed. Why now? And why at all?

He heard a rustle and he whirled around, petrified – but no strange alien creature came into his view. In fact, it was a very purple someone who had slid into the clearing with a frown upon his face. Fiver gave a swift gasp and sped away, vaulting back into the safety of the trees surrounding the clearing.

A Loki had hovered out from the other side of the forest, glaring down at the wreckage with a look of foreboding mixed in with his scowl. Fiver ducked down lower, but kept his eyes on the purple creature as he drew closer to the contraption, studying it. Fiver couldn't shake the feeling that perhaps he'd seen this Loki before.

The Loki bent down and lifted a hatch on the ship, clearly not afraid to touch it as Fiver had been. Fiver leaned closer despite himself, curiosity overwhelming his unease – and another branch snapped. The Loki's head jerked upward and their eyes met.

Fiver almost shuddered, but was too frozen to manage it. Slowly, the Loki rose one side of his brow.

"Well...this is unexpected." He mused, almost as if he thought Fiver couldn't understand him. The small Thora chewed on his lip, having the faint urge to frown back.

"...I was here first." There was no way he could look at this...thing if there was a Loki hovering around; they never did like sharing. The larger spirit snorted, but his face was totally absent of any smile.

"And why would you be interested?"

"Don't off-worlders concern all of us?" Fiver returned slowly, trying to keep his nerve. The Loki frowned at him, pausing for a moment. Then he tilted his head.

"Who are you?" He asked with a note of suspicion. Fiver drew back just a little. He hadn't thought it would matter who he was.

"I am called Fiver." He replied uncertainly. The Loki gave him a look.

"An odd name for a Thora; usually I expect something more elaborate."

"And you are?" Fiver tried to ignore that comment. Though he didn't sound like he was insulting him, in fact the Loki's tone seemed to suggest he found nothing wrong with what he was saying.

Sometimes it was remarkable at how oblivious the intelligent Loki could be.

"I am Rookus." The Loki said, turning his head back to look down into the hatch, "I'm surprised at how well you speak this language, considering how young you are."

"Most Thora can speak Basic." Fiver returned loftily. They only switched to native Thora when they wanted the Loki to keep out of their conversations, not that they'd find anything of note in them. Rookus eyed him in a studying manner; Fiver felt uneasy.

"...What is this thing?" He said, wishing to change the subject. The Loki shrugged, slowly,

"A ship."

"...You don't seem too concerned." Fiver remarked. Rookus didn't look deterred from his relaxed outlook.

"Should I be?"

"An offworlder. On Toranux. It's never happened." Fiver said slowly, trying not to sound too gobsmacked. Rookus- oddly enough – didn't look back at him. As if avoiding his eye.

"I'll admit I was surprised too, when I heard." Fiver felt as if a gong had gone off in his head.

"You mean – you've all known about this?" He rose up, drifting closer, forgetting his unease. "This – this could be something dangerous, to all of us – and you never mentioned it to us?"

"Setting off the Thora into a panic wouldn't have –" Rookus shrugged – and Fiver felt something in him boil at his offhand tone – and he cut him off.

"We are not mindless pigeons contrary to your belief!" He snapped, voice raising, "We are –" He stopped himself from spilling his thoughts. Rookus stared at him – not angry but...incredulous, as if he just didn't understand that he'd been snapped at by a little Thora. He slowly placed his hand on the open hatch of the ship.

"You are what exactly?" There was no threat, not insult, no oily patronizing tone. Emptiness. Fiver's head spun on the inside. Just what was wrong with this Loki? Why was he acting...so un-smug?

Fiver swallowed. "...We are stronger than your kind like to think."

Rookus paused, turning his head to gaze at the trees. "Yes...there is much we do not know about you. Things that perhaps we should...especially considering recent events." He murmured. Fiver watched him, tense.

"You speak of Tressakay Misow."

"I do." Rookus looked back at him, his absent look gone, "I noticed her some weeks before all of this. I noticed...something strange."

"The council fears here." Fiver was surprised at the...pride? Pride in his own voice. Anxiously he probed his feelings – was he really happy that this young woman had made their kind look stronger? Surely nothing was wrong with it, but pride could grow ugly quickly...

"You seem uneasy." Rookus commented loftily. Fiver looked up at him again, chewing his lip.

"Its...nothing." Nothing that you could understand, he wished he could add. But Thora didn't allow themselves to do everything they wished. Self control and restraint made you stronger...but really, in what way? Wasn't she strong too?

"...Does she scare you?" Rookus asked reproachfully. Fiver blinked for a moment.

"...No." And he knew it, then, that it was the truth. He wasn't scared of her. He could sense it – that she wasn't what people thought she was. She wasn't like the horrid Loki that killed that Thora man for no good reason other than he could.

Then a small voice popped into his head. The off-worlder. Remember what this conversation is about. Fiver frowned a bit, looking at the Loki man opposite him more closely. Had he deliberately changed the subject?

"...The off-worlder. Do you know who – what it is?" He asked. Rookus looked at him again, with that studying look. Fiver tried not to be annoyed. He'd never felt so...short of patience. Loki could do that to you – people always seemed to get worse near them.

"...It was..." Rookus leaned back, drumming his fingers on the small ship, contemplating. Fiver felt his unease return tenfold.

"What?"

Rookus frowned – but not from anger. "It was a cragmite."

Fiver had never felt a feeling as strong as he did then. He'd always sensed things; the Lifeforce was their aura, their second sense of smell, sight, hearing, and touch. And in that moment all off his senses felt sickened, and horror overcame him – and he did not know why. All he could feel was dread, and it made him shudder – he ignored the odd look Rookus gave him and leant against a tree, half-ducked, as if to avoid some attacking bird from above that just wasn't there.

He felt cold, very cold. The unease he'd felt, building up for months – this was where it came from, not Tressakay, that was never the full of it. "...C-cragmites?"

"What's the matter with you?" Rookus half-called, as Fiver had his back to him, "I was under the impression you didn't know what those creatures where."

"I can – I feel – something bad. They must be bad, or the one from the ship is..." Fiver stammered, staring at the bark he leaned on. He felt terrified, and he knew even if he hid he wouldn't escape it. "Its – it's all around us, this whole place...!"

"Calm down, will you – one is nothing." Rookus had come closer, warily. Fiver darted back from him, turning to face him at last, near hysterical.

"You don't understand! No Loki can – The Lifeforce feels everything, and it feels scared, and threatened – something is attacking it, or going to – something that was h- here..."

Rookus was staring at him in surprise, shock – and interest. "...The Lifeforce...tells you this?"

"The Lifeforce isn't – it's not like that." Why did Loki have to be so ignorant? "You can't understand it, it's a sense, it's in all our heads –"

Rookus frowned, "Thora only – now will you calm down?"

Fiver gave a shaky breath and floated away from him, into a small huddle of trees, trying to calm himself, but the anxiety was overwhelming him. Rookus followed him, but didn't draw too near.

"...You'll have to explain then, as clearly I'm no expert on your Lifeforce." Now he sounded scornful, miffed as this thing he didn't understand. Fiver put his head in his hands.

"You – you said cragmites. What – what do they do? What..."

Rookus listened as he trailed off. "...Well your reaction isn't too far off from what it should be if they landed on our doorstep."

Fiver lifted his head. "...You tell me everything about them. Everything that we 'Thora' are too stupid to be told about." His voice shook but his tone was firm. "And I'll tell you...just how powerful our Lifeforce is."

...

Ratchet waited. And waited some more. He knew he was risking a lot by leaving the signal this long; in all sense if Clank had picked up after the first ring then they could have talked and hung up by now. He knew he'd have to stop the signal, but he just couldn't force himself.

Finally, he heard the buzz of acceptance. "Ratchet?"

Clank's voice. It almost felt alien, but at the same weird time it was like he'd never left. Ratchet felt a flush of relief and grinned, "Hey Pal – Sorry 'bout the wait –"

"You could have waited until we WHEREN'T hiding!" Trisby's voice barked from the communicator. Ratchet's ears flew up,

"Wait, what -?" He became aware at that moment of blasts and zipping sounds on the other end – they where, undoubtedly, being shot at. Clank sounded humorous none the less.

"You have had better timing, Ratchet, but it is good to see you are...all right." Ratchet glanced down, trying to shake off the uneasy feeling that came to him at that last note.

"Yeah – so can you give me a quick update or should I call back later?"

"We are at the Cobalia gel plant where we met that odd Smuggler." Clank said, sounding far less frustrated than Trisby, "We will meet you nearby once we evade these goons."

"IF we evade them." Trisby snapped, "Ratchet, that Orange menace sent his gang here. Be careful - he could be waiting for you when you come in."

Ratchet tried not to grimace, and failed. "Oh, Great. I totally needed a dose of crazy today."

Clank chortled – but it was cut off by a blast, "We must go – be careful, Ratchet!"

"You, too, Pal ..." Ratchet heard the line cut. He knew he should feel guilty for putting Clank on strain by calling him, but he was too happy to hear from him to notice it too much. He glanced back at the Battleship, quite far behind him – he'd managed to sneak past while they were busy trying to get a hold of themselves after the incident with the engine.

Then, his communicator rang. It couldn't be Clank. Trisby wouldn't have it. Ratchet's fur bristled. He reached out and picked it up again, answering, but remained quiet.

There was no breathing or sounds of fire this time. There was buzzing and static, like a jammed signal. Then, something drew – slowly building up. The best way he could describe it was as if hundreds of distorted voices, different in pitch, where drawing in a laboured, raspy breath.

"Wak...e...m...e...u...p."

Ratchet hung up, his brow sweating. His happiness was sapped from him and he felt as if he'd been dunked in a pool of freezing cold water. "..."

What? How?

He hadn't imagined it, he was awake, he was sure of it. How could the thing in the visions be in his communicator? It didn't make any sense...!

He needed to find Clank and Trisby. He pushed it to the back of his mind, or tried to, and grabbed the controls to go into hyper drive again. He'd get a better chance now that he was past the fleet.

The yellow lombax booted up the hyper drive and watched as the galaxy blurred around him, and flashed. He was bushed against his seat, but was too experienced to care.

Cobalia came into view – surrounded by a fleet. Ratchet instantly checked the cloaking device was still up, which it was. He sighed to himself,

"Now what...?"

And something knocked into the side of his ship. It reeled to the side and Ratchet rammed on the breaks, his head turning swiftly to the left. A green, incredibly conspicuous ship, had smacked into him. There wasn't much damage, but that wasn't what made Ratchet wish he'd come in at a different direction.

Qwark was waving at him, in both terror and relief, from the window of the green ship. And the fleet had clearly seen him. Ratchet turned his stiff head back to the fleet as ships began speeding towards them.

"...Qwark..."

...

Nefarious kicked open the doors, not even waiting for the automatic mechanism to let him pass. Tachyon and the Loki looked over, both with incredulous/annoyed expressions. Nefarious practically pranced over to them, and Tachyon even leaned back a tad in his seat.

"The furball has appeared! He smacked right into Qwark's ship outside of Cobalia and the green buffoon blew his cover!" Nefarious bellowed gleefully, slapping his hands together and giving a hacking life. The Loki's brows flew up in rare shock, but he instantly shook it off.

"This very second?"

Tachyon had already turned to the screens, switching them to fleet outside Cobalia. There was the green ship, and there was another, smaller one – with a notable dent inside. Tachyon cackled darkly.

"Splendid. It seems luck is on our side at last."

Nefarious folded his arms; his eyes narrowing. "I get to deal with Qwark – the furry munchkin is all yours." Tachyon cast him a foul look.

"There was no doubt in that; I do not have time to deal with green simpletons."

"Yes, do deal with the least precarious opposition while the rest of us deal with the real threat." The Loki added with a nasty smirk. The gears in Nefarious's head reeled threateningly. He'd walked into that one but he wasn't about to admit it.

"Oh, you act like that buffoon doesn't mess everything up! If it weren't for him feeding all your little secrets to the lombax, maybe you wouldn't have had him on your doorstep!" He'd snapped this at Tachyon, merging both him and the Loki in his taunt together. Tachyon scoffed, but Nefarious saw that it had riled him up.

"Let's not dwell on the past." The Loki drawled smoothly, only for Nefarious to smirk this time.

"Sure, a planet in pieces and a race in destitute is nothing among friends."

The Loki's smiled vanished, slowly melting away. A tense silence followed, and the Loki chuckled. He didn't laugh, cackle or snickered, he chuckled inwardly like he'd just been back-talked but a truly stupid child. Tachyon eyed him with a suspicious sneer.

The Loki turned away on his throne, "You really do not know how to play this game, Doctor. There's a reason you lose so much, you know. Subtle isn't something you can manage."

"Subtle doesn't matter when your whole race is decimated!" Nefarious threw up his arms. He knew the 'game'. He knew this was reminiscent of a political tight-rope act where they all warily tip-toed around each other. Just long enough to get what they want; the right amount of pleasing and restriction to keep things flowing. A means to an end. Yes, he understood, but he was getting sick of it. This was why he worked alone – he simply hated these two too much to bother worrying about the repercussions. He could rebuild himself, they couldn't. He pointed a claw-like finger up at the cragmite,

"You turned your race into another set of chess pieces, just an one-up from your drophids! So-called 'savoir' just needing more muscle!" He pointing at the Loki, ignoring the enraged look the cragmite hurtled at him – and the metal arm reaching out to his neck,

"And YOU where willing to risk your race for ANYTHING! You bozos just had to poke the bear and tick off the cragmites, and well your stupid arrogance got your plan-"

Nefarious was jerked clean off his feet by Tachyon's throne; the arm tight around his neck and crushing it. Nefarious gagged, not that he needed air in that way, but perhaps from some vile instinct still left in his mind from his days as an organic. He struggled, kicking out violently, "Put me DOWN, you moron! MINIONS!"

The Loki pressed a button; the door sliding shut and locking, trapping him in the cockpit. He'd had the same idea as the cragmite. There was no backing down, and he was happy for it. "I'm sorry, Doctor, but I'm afraid you'll be taking a little holiday from your duties."

Nefarious looked back and forth between them, enraged, struggling like an animal in a leash, "How DARE you! I'll see you stuffed for this, the both of you!"

Tachyon laughed lowly, "You are no longer needed, Scrap pile. I would say I am sorry for your resignation, but that would be a lie."

Nefarious's head gears sparked, and his infuriated voice carried through the battleship.

"LAAAAWRENCE!"

Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 43
Okay, so the next three months - until summer basically- are going to be bombarded with business for me and I'll barely have a spare moment. So sorry for the wait and more imminent ones to come. Thanks to all still reading. I don't have time for a long note, I only have small windows to post this due to my internet being out for what feels like forever.

Next: 

what-if-writer.deviantart.com/…
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So...yeah. I've barely been on or replying these past two months. There are technical reasons, and outside reasons. This year and last year have just been hectic, and I've needed to take things a lot more seriously when it comes to studying and doing out-of-college work. That and I'm just incredibly tired at the moment. Even if I had full access to internet I doubt I'd be uploaded much images; I've not found the motivation to work on anything and the reason I keep Lifeforce going so much is that I promised myself I wouldn't give up on the story. So yeah, those are the only things you'll be seeing from me.

Sounds a bit like a downer, I know, but I'm not a celebrity here and people have their own stuff to get on with, so I doubt my absence is tear-jerking. Just letting those who are watching out for things that they'll come, but they'll come slow.

So yeah, sorry for not being on, but I'll do my best to get Lifeforce finished for those reading. Sorry for the lack of art.
And I'm...admin of two groups. I have no idea how they work, so If there are duties I have been ignoring, I'm terribly sorry for being clueless.

:iconlaplz: 

:iconidontthinksobetchplz:

:iconthefonzplz: :icongoofygrinplz:

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:icontomfromczechrepublic:
TomFromCzechRepublic Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015  Student Filmographer
Thanks for the awesome and well written stories on fanfic.com!
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:iconwhat-if-writer:
What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015
Thanks so much ^^
Reply
:icontomfromczechrepublic:
TomFromCzechRepublic Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015  Student Filmographer
You're welcome pal!
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:icondracunnum:
Dracunnum Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the fav ! :glomp:
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:iconsmeagolisme:
smeagolisme Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Professional General Artist
MERRY CHRISTMAS, TOO! :merry christmas: Merry christmas everybody Christmas Dance Christmas La Christmas- Deerling Christmas Carol Two :xmas: 
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:iconwhat-if-writer:
What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014
And to you :iconchristmastreeplz:
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:iconsmeagolisme:
smeagolisme Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks SO MUCH for the watch!!! ^^
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:iconwhat-if-writer:
What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014
Welcome ^^
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:iconlombaxartist:
lombaxartist Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Happy  birthday!
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:iconwhat-if-writer:
What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014
Thanks ^^
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